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Bob Russell

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Everything posted by Bob Russell

  1. I really meant patrol leader, not den leader. Maybe I was half-asleep when I wrote that.
  2. A and B are fairly common events, unfortunately. Remembering that the troop is boy led, an adult leader observing either incident would discuss the problem quietly with the SPL or den leader, and "suggest" that the problem be solved. We then stand back and observe, making sure that the problem is fixed. Depending upon the severity of the problem, a story such as given by Mike may be told. Mine are not nearly as inspiring. At times the problem is not noticed until later. Our troop has a policy that when we return from an outing, all troop equipment is unpacked and returned to the shelves (we have exclusive use of a room in the church's basement, and a section is devoted to equipment storage). If equipment needs to be repacked, refolded, cleaned, etc., it must be done at this time. Scouts are not permitted to leave with their parents until everything is completed. The scouts have learned, mostly, that cleaning of dishes, pans, etc., should be done after meals so that they can go home more quickly. As to C, I'm not sure how they do it, because I'm usually still sleeping.
  3. Years ago I was asked by a corporate client to create an ethics code for the directors of the corporation. We discussed a lot of items, and we faxed many ideas back and forth. At one step in the process, after considering what the client kept focusing on, I types up the scout law, changed the lead to "A director is" and sent it off. We did joke a bit about it, but it really seemed to match most of what the client, and I think, society, is looking for. Of course, I then went on to produce the proper form of legal document, much longer, and probably less helpful. Regarding the "Cleaver" style of family, I truly believe that a family of two parents and children is the ideal arrangement. I was fortunate to grow up in such a family, and my household fits that description. I am amazed and saddened that so many of my children's friends do not have similar familial situations. Are they good families, yes, but not as good as they should and can be. It is interesting to watch television, especially sitcoms, and see how few resemble the Cleaver mold. (I confess that my comment here is not based on first-hand knowledge, because I haven't watched sitcoms for many years.) The response by TV executives, etc. is that since not all families are now "traditional" TV needs to reflect reality. However, it its need to be "daring" TV now treats a family of two parents and children as an aberration. If you believed TV, there are no traditional families. And I think this is a big mistake, because it wouldn't hurt our society if TV strived for showing better than ordinary, as something to strive for, rather than the lowest common denominator.
  4. When we do our annual planning, it is often not possible to pick specific dates for activities. For example, we attend two of our council's winter lodges on Mt. Hood every winter. To be eligible, we have to participate in the September wood cut for each lodge, and at each wood cut the participating troops participate in a lottery to pick their date. We therefore cannot plan the dates of these activities prior to the woodcut. We prepare the January through March calender by making decisions that in this three-month period we will hold several events, dates to be determined following the woodcut. We will also adjust the calender based upon snow levels - last year we had to reschedule our snow cave weekend from January, when there should have been sufficient snow, to later in the winter, because the snow levels on Mt. Rainier were not sufficient until late winter. In fact, the weekend we went was the first with sufficient snow, and I think that every scout troop that did snow caving was there - they all had to adjust their schedules. Summer scheduling also needs flexibility as families often do not have their vacations scheduled through employers until late in the year. Obviously summer camp is scheduled well in advance, but weekend activities such as our weekend whitewater trip is scheduled after vacations are known. This method will not work well for large troops such as OGE has, but I think works well with smaller troops. However, if a troop tries to be too flexible, adjusting up to the last minute, the program will almost certainly fail, because you are sending a signal that scouting is to be a second choice. We have done this at times, and as I look back on it I regret allowing too much rescheduling. For smaller troops, I think the best approach is to plan for the year, then adjust in 4 or 6 month blocks as schedules become known. A comment for those who hate the lack of a working edit function. I try to be careful with my posts, as they remain for all to see. I write mine on my word processing program, edit and spell check there, and then copy to the Scouter site. It takes a bit longer, but I hope I embarrass myself less.
  5. OGE, better look out, because I agree whole-heartedly too. When you see a tear in the eye of our president, you can believe that it is sincere, unlike our previous president, who could fake a tear in a heartbeat, if the polls told him to. As has been said well by some comentators, in this difficult time thank God the adults are back in the White House.
  6. Tim, Bob is correct in stating that Cub Scouts cannot go back and earn earlier age-based ranks. Each Cub Scout rank is based upon an age/grade, and must be earned at that time only. As it was explained to me at leader training, the requirements of, for example, the Wolf rank are based upon a boy in the second grade, and therefore an older boy meeting these requirements simply would not be "doing their best." Boy Scout ranks are not age based, and therefore, each scout progresses through the ranks after learning/demonstrating the skills.
  7. From FoxNews: "Firefighters who say they were ordered to ride in last year's gay pride parade, despite their moral and religious objections, are threatening to sue the city unless officials stop forcing municipal employees to march in the parade. Steven Brown, executive director of the state American Civil Liberties Union, sent a letter to Fire Chief James Rattigan in January on behalf of three of the firefighters who participated. "A number of firefighters apparently objected to this assignment, having sincere moral and religious objections to being in such a parade," Brown wrote. In his letter, Brown demanded a promise from city officials that only willing volunteers be asked to march in the gay pride parade from now on. "If they're not willing to give that assurance, then we'll have to consider litigation," Brown told The Associated Press." http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,46935,00.html
  8. An interesting article on NationalReviewOnline (http://www.nationalreview.com/nr_comment/nr_comment030102.shtml) about the Stumbo family, who are fighting against social worker intrusion into their family. You may recall this is a family whose 2-year old daughter ran naked into her yard and someone reported this to social workers. The family refused to allow the child to be interviewed privately by the social worker, and they have been in court now for several years. According to the article, the Stumbos are represented by attorney Michael Farris, who is also chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed amicus for the Stumbos. In this case at least, the ACLU and the Home School Legal Defense Association are allies. For those of you who remember, Dedicated Dad in a post under home schooling has identified his uncle Mike Smith as president of the Home School Legal Defense Association.
  9. And Merlyn, just like allowing the government to penalize the Boy Scouts of America destroys any meaning of the right of association contained in the first. Oh, where is that ACLU now?
  10. DD, I don't think we disagree here. My post had to do with more permanent displays, not in the context of a regular public forum. In those forums, restrictions on content of speech should be very limited. A display such as I referred to would be a government-sponsored display, such as monuments, classroom displays by teachers, etc. In such a display, different examples of forms of rules, both secular and religious, should be able to be displayed, to show the various ways that different groups of people have established rules/laws to govern expected behavior. It is in such a display that a "God is myth" sign would be out of context and therefore excluded.
  11. Hey Merlyn, welcome back. I enjoy it when you are here, so that I can post and have Dedicated Dad and I maybe somewhat agree on something. Although I have trouble with just the ten commandments being posted, I support their posting when done in a civic context. Recognizing that the ten commandments were an early form of laws governing a people I believe is such a civic context. This can be done by also recognizing other forms of laws, both secular and religious, such as the Magna Carta as an example of secular law, and the ten commandments, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, etc. All of these guided people in their lives, and they make good examples that should not be rejected outright from public property. But such a display should not allow your "Gods are myths" sign, because that is a purely religious (anti-religious) statement not consistent with the context of the display. The ACLU appears to have a knee-jerk reaction to anything Christian, but not regarding other religions. After September 11, there sprung up a wealth of Islamic teaching in public schools, and I heard no objection from the religion-separatists. Much of the teaching can be good, if the teaching is about the religion and not the teaching of the religion. However, when it comes to Christianity, I do not believe that the ACLU recognizes the same distinction. But with other religions, they just look the other way. Eastern religions are often allowed to be presented, but pretending that it is lifestyle and not religion that is being presented.
  12. In an effort to not lose kids to sports, we try to schedule events so that they do not always have to make a choice. We have started to work on the hiking MB and I schedule the hikes for Sundays, since our best hiking seasons, spring and fall, conflict with Saturday sports. The parents have been consulted and we have not had any church/scouting conflict objections. This obviously may not work for many units. For two-day outings such as canoe trips, we have scheduled the trips so that parents and scouts with conflicts can join us after the sporting event. My sons are very sports-focused, and they and I have been the late joiners more than once. By not having to make the choice between sports and scouts, more kids will remain in and participate in scouts. And by being able to participate on some weekends in both sports and scouting, I find them more likely to skip an occasional game when the scout event so requires.
  13. Sctmom, the issue is controlled by the "Supremacy Clause" of the U.S. Constitution, contained in Article VI: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Some may read this to the effect that a ratified treaty will override all other law, which could include the US Supreme Court Dale decision, which allows BSA to set its own membership standards. However, this would allow the Congress alone to effectively amend the Constitution, a power which it does not otherwise have without the approval of the states. I did a quick Google search and found the following article posted by Amnesty International USA about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states the following regarding treaties and the Supremacy Clause: Q: Does the Convention threaten our national sovereignty? Will the United Nations control our laws and children? A: No. The Convention contains no controlling language or mandates. Moreover, under the supremacy clause of our Constitution, no treaty can "override" our Constitution. The United States has historically regarded treaties such as this Convention to be non-self-executing, which means the Convention can only be implemented through domestic legislation enacted by Congress or state legislatures, in a manner and time-frame determined by our own legislative process. Moreover, the United States can reject or attach clarifying language to any specific provision of the Convention. Therefore, neither the United Nations nor the Committee on the Rights of the Child would have dominion, power, or enforcement authority over the United States or its citizens. Ultimately, the Convention obligates the Federal Government to make sure that the provisions of the treaty are fulfilled. http://www.amnesty-usa.org/group/crn/crcfaq.htm
  14. Welcome scoutruud to these discussions. As you can see, we can disagree, often intensely. But I would say that we all love scouting, and work hard to make it a great program for our youth. A characteristic of Americans is to often vigorously disagree amongst ourselves, but defend to all our right to disagree. We take unkindly of others who tell us what we must believe. A common feeling is "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Although attributed to Voltaire (not actually said by him), who was not an American, I believe that it better sums up American philosophy than that of any other country today. Regarding your reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Dedicated Dad kindly linked us to, I confess I have never read it before today, but I am amazed how tolerant and generous it is. I am also amazed at how few countries follow even a few of them, with probably the European nations and America at the top of the list. Your citing of the Declaration however does not help your argument, in that the following is contained therein: Article 20. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association. The US Supreme Court, in recognizing our own constitutional right of free association, acknowledged the BSA's right to set its own membership criteria, outside of governmental control. As you can see from these discussions, we in the organization can disagree, but it is for us, not the government or the UN, to settle the issue. I believe that all of us who have posted are in agreement that it is for BSA, not the government, do decide. Again welcome to these discussions. We can learn much from each other and share ideas. However, I have yet to hear of any American scouter tell non-American scouting organizations that they should change their rules to conform to ours. Please do not interpret this to mean that I am saying that we do not want to hear your views, merely that we do not wish to be told how we should behave.
  15. DD, you earlier posted the following: "Homosexuality, by definition, is perversion. You're welcome to write your own dictionary if you want to however I don't think that many would consider it very factual. Homosexuality or same-sex sodomy, is an aberrant sexual practice especially when habitual and preferred to normal coitus. The condition of being perverted is to cause to turn aside or away from what is good, right and true and this "intrinsically" conflicts with the definition of moral. In math, theorems are proven by using definitions, but I'm going to guess you don't put much stock in math, too many absolutes,right?" I quoted you fully, so that I won't be accused of taking your statement out of context, etc. In your post, you linked "perversion" to Merriam-Webster Online, which defines it as "2 : a perverted form; especially : an aberrant sexual practice especially when habitual and preferred to normal coitus." I then went to your source, Merriam-Webster Online, to seek the definition of "coitus" which is defined as "physical union of male and female genitalia accompanied by rhythmic movements usually leading to the ejaculation of semen from the penis into the female reproductive tract." This is your definitive source, and reading the definitions together leads me to conclude that the examples given by ScouterPaul do not involve "physical union of male and female genitalia accompanied by rhythmic movements usually leading to the ejaculation of semen from the penis into the female reproductive tract," and therefore, by your definitive definition, must be perverse. ScouterPaul obviously read the same definition, and I suspect that is the basis for his response. Do I agree that the acts described by ScouterPaul are perverse, no, but then I am not citing this definition to support my views. Regardless of how any may twist and turn these definitions, maybe you can explain to us by what policy BSA has turned over to Merriam-Webster Online the setting of scout policy. I will say that at least I can find Merriam-Webster Online, which is more than I can say for the BSA policy regarding homosexuality. Still waiting for some guidance there. Oh, and I am glad you find my positions humorous, after all, a scout is cheerful.
  16. Sctmom, regarding your comments to reach out to parents - I think that this is one of the most important things we can do to keep kids in scouting. My sons are both in scouting, as is my daughter in GSUSA. Each would have quit at some point if we had let them, because they would rather at times sleep in or play video games. Just as my wife and I expect them to go to school, go to church, do their homework, etc, we expect them to participate in scouting. We don't force with an iron hand, but we don't let them drop out of activities on a whim. One of my ticket items for my Wood Badge ticket is to have a meeting with each new scout and his parents as he joins the troop. In the past, we have merely chatted with parents as they drop by, but some obviously get missed. I intend to first talk with the scout and family, to discuss the program and his and our expectations, and then let the new scout go off to be with the troop while I talk with the parents to stress that we need their help and encouragement for the program to succeed for their son. Almost all successful scouts I have seen have strong parental support for the program, and many who drop out had parents who believed that BSA stands for Baby Sitters of America.
  17. OGE, I know that paintball is out, much to our scouts' disappointment. But I have not heard that lazertag is not permitted. I would think the difference could be the contact issues with paintball that aren't there with Lazertag. To get a large enough group to reserve the facility, we invited a nearby troop to join us, and they have some of the most experienced Scouters in the district, and they are on board. But I will check up on this.
  18. NJCubScouter, yes, I am an attorney. You too. Well I guess there goes the Neighborhood. Bob White, you asked about the application statement of obeying policies and rules. I haven't looked at the adult application recently, but I don't doubt it's there. It should be. But my question remains - what is the policy? NJ can't find a clear statement, nor can I. I am still waiting for assistance from all of you who vigorously defend the policy that I can't seem to find. Please help! ScouterPaul, you have correctly pointed out that Dedicated Dad's definition has made most heterosexual couples deviants, whom I presume cannot have the proper moral foundation to be Scouters. DD, does your troop ask about this to each new adult considered for leadership? Even better, how do people respond?
  19. In addition to all of the suggestions above that fit the traditional mode, don't be afraid to venture a bit outside the box. We have a number of Webelos whom we are recruiting this year who will cross over in late March. Just prior to their decision time, we have an overnight Lazertag night scheduled. This was not planned for the Webelos, but the scouts just wanted to try it. My kids' church youth group had done one, so my sons suggested it at a PLC meeting, and we went with it. A little different, but when I recently asked one of our parents, who is also involved at the pack the Webelos are in, how he thought we would do this year in recruiting, his answer was that it may well depend on how well the Lazertag goes. Although we have a strong traditional program, a little variety can help.
  20. Bob White, you have asked the following question of tjhammer: "2. Do you intend to abide by the rules and policies you agreed to when you signed." The application that I signed a long time ago contained no policy regarding homosexuals that I recall. So to determine the exact rules and policies that we are to follow, I went to the BSA website and searched it for BSA's policy regarding homosexuals. I confess I could not find one. Imagine that, the most important policy in the public eye and it's not clearly set out on the website for all to see. I would think that this important policy would be easier to find. Maybe I'm just missing it. And I will confess, I've never seen it in writing anywhere. And at the time I first became a leader, which was before the Dale case, I had never heard of the policy, nor has anyone I have talked to. The closest I could find on the website was the following statements: "The Boy Scouts of America makes no effort to discover the sexual orientation of any member or leader. Scouting's message is compromised when members or leaders present themselves as role models whose actions are inconsistent with the standards set in the Scout Oath and Law." "The BSA reaffirmed its view that an avowed homosexual cannot serve as a role model for the traditional moral values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law and that these values cannot be subject to local option choices." Press release, February 2002. I have gone to the apparently unchallengeable merriamwebster.com site for the definition of "avowed" and found the following definition for "avow:" "1 : to declare assuredly 2 : to declare openly, bluntly, and without shame " It would therefore appear that unless a person declares assuredly or declares openly, bluntly and without shame that he/she is homosexual, the policy expressed in the press release is not violated. Would everyone here agree? And could anyone help me out here and point me to a clear official written statement of the BSA policy.
  21. I suspect my wife and I celebrated Valentine's Day as many scout families did. Rushing home from work, I gave her yellow roses, her favorite, then we quickly ate dinner before she and our daughter left for Girl Scouts and I flew out the door late for Roundtable. All back by 10pm to exchange cards. Isn't romance something?
  22. "I would like to know how the "many more people" can see the difference. Why can't you explain that? I just don't understand." DD, I believe that any poll of individuals will reveal that a significant percentage of people do not disapprove of committed homosexual couples. I am sure that a huge percentage would disapprove of bestiality and incest. So I am sure that many people can see the difference. Do I have a cite to such a poll - no. And I am not going to look for one. I'll just go with common sense on this one. "If you're an attorney, surely you have the intellectual capacity to articulate the difference. How is the "silent majority" supposed to understand if you, a lawyer, can't demonstrate any discernable distinction between "homosexuality" incest and bestiality? The truth is, you can't councilor!" In my profession, and in life generally, we learn that some questions simply do not warrant a response. I see no need to further this part of the discussion, so just as I ceased a topic with Merlyn on religious discrimination (where I took a position I suspect you agreed with), I will stop now. To paraphrase Fox News, we have reported, others will decide.
  23. DD, you have stated the following propositions: "What about committed incestual or bestial relationships, why can't they be just as equal?" "Why is incest or bestiality anymore harmful?" "The sad thing is Bob, and I hope you can appreciate that I don not support incest and bestiality in any way, shape or form, is that it can be morally justified in each and every way "homosexuality" can be justified. There is no moral difference." You cannot see the moral difference between a consenting committed relationship between two adults and bestiality and incest, but I believe that many more people can. Readers of these posts will decide for themselves. I will not convert you, and you will not convert me. But my view of these postings is not to convert, but to show those who view these posts, who vastly outnumber those of us who post, that within scouting, there is a wide variety of views on these issues. I hope you and others who share your views never feel morally forced to leave scouting, but I also want people who share my views to also not feel morally forced to leave. It is what Richard Nixon once called the silent majority who will read and listen to our discussions, here and elsewhere, and their views will be formed and reformed based upon what we all say.
  24. Rooster, sorry to hear that you don't respect me as a scouter. I have read all of your posts, accept your devotion to scouting, and have no reason to attack your capabilities as a scouter. I also respect your right to hold views different than my own. If you want to attack my devotion to scouting, I suggest you first pay a visit to see our troop in action. I believe that we have a fine program based upon the scout ideals. As to your comments regarding me being sued some day, I will not lose sleep over this issue. I've said before in some post that I am a lawyer, for over 20 years. I tend to give pretty conservative advice to my clients to avoid litigation, and I feel absolutely no risk here. Since the BSA itself says its policy is not for youth protection, but for moral values, any violation on my part will not be looked at as a violation of safety rules. As long as we strictly obey the 2-deep leadership requirements, we have done the right thing. I have all the faith in the world that a jury of twelve honest citizens in my community will see through any attack based only upon the sexual orientation of an adult in our troop. I don't however expect any such event to occur, in that we know our adult volunteers, and in the event we ever have an adult who may be gay/lesbian actively involved, that person will be known by us to be as fine a person as all others involved. And please note that I said "an adult who may be gay/lesbian." The policy of BSA is one of "don't ask, don't tell." I don't intend to ask any adult what they do in their bedroom, so I do not believe that I would be violating BSA policy.
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